Raspberry Pi

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Jan 2018
1:08am, 31 Jan 2018
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I had a notion to buy a Raspberry Pi with the goal of small projects and learning to code. This months Computer Shopper magazine is quite encouraging with “you’re never too old to learn!” and some start up advice. Are there any experts who can advise on coding/languages/talents-in-demand for careers in this field? (Lord Fetch!?)
Jan 2018
7:24am, 31 Jan 2018
18,939 posts
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Ey up :-)

It's definitely never too late to learn pretty much anything. Try some of the projects out, and then try tinkering with them to adjust their behaviour - if you enjoy that, you're on to a winner. I'm a bit out of the loop regarding what's hot and what's not, having worked exclusively on FE for over 10 years now :-O but if you're interested in internet stuff, you won't go far wrong if you start with HTML & CSS (for presenting content on the web), then work back into PHP or Python (Fetch is built using the former, and it's probably still the most popular coding language that's used to generate websites). I know that when I was casting about for freelance work, there was a lot of demand for understanding frameworks, like Magento, Wordpress and Drupal (you can very quickly put pages and pretty content together, then add modifications and extensions to add extra functionality) - but if you're just starting out, I think there's no substitute for getting as close to the code as possible. Treat it as a crossword or sudoku for now, and have fun. I hope you enjoy it.

PS you'll find a few more Pi fans on this thread:
Jan 2018
11:26am, 31 Jan 2018
12,203 posts
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I love the Raspberry Pi and we have 3, BUT I do have some reservations on the teaching yourself to code on this platform.

Conceptually there are two barriers to leap, of which learning to code is only one. The second is the operating system. Raspberry Pi s all use variants of Linux. At it's base level, this system is just a command prompt you type commands into. So lots of obscure text.

Yes you can load a Windows like interface (or indeed I bet you can buy one now with a graphical operating system pre-installed). BUT that doesn't mean that you won't have to open up a command prompt at some point early one and start typing commands. I like Linux as a system, I learned UNIX as a graduate (upon which Linux is based), but you do need some familiarity with that as well. It isn't that hard, more fiddly, but I am reminded when I gave one A Pi my kids, they didn't have the patience to get into that side, just so they could set it up, so they could learn to code...

If you come from a background of tinkering, you will love it, it's great. If you want it primarily to learn coding for future careers, I'd either buy a book or take an online/real world course for a couple of months first...

(waits for people to come hoarding on here to disagree - but I like people succeeding in what they do)
Jan 2018
12:26pm, 31 Jan 2018
7,418 posts
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I've used Raspberry Pi's with 11-13 year olds to teach programming quite a bit - but I would tend to agree with chrisull that if what you want to do is just "learn to program", there's mountains of free resources you can use on your PC without needing to get to grips with the Pi.

I'd always suggest Python as the place to start, and not worry too much about future careers. See if you like it first. If you can teach yourself one programming language, you can learn others later. Disclaimer - I'm a chip designer, not a professional programmer.
Jan 2018
1:03pm, 31 Jan 2018
8,668 posts
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I concur with Cerrertonia regarding Python. Have a look at Coursera - they have an introduction to Python course that you can take for free. See coursera.org - you can do the first course or all five link together quite well. You can take the courses without paying and it caters to people with no programming knowledge and help explain the concepts quite well.
Jan 2018
8:15pm, 31 Jan 2018
165 posts
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Thanks everyone for the feedback and links, it's much appreciated! I'll look into courses for programming and get a Pi for fun stuff, looking forward to a bit of learning between work and running!

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I had a notion to buy a Raspberry Pi with the goal of small projects and learning to code. This mont...

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